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Can I Come to Hong Kong as Visitor, Find a Job, Then Change to an Employment Visa?

February 7th, 2023

Posted in Employment Visas, The Hong Kong Visa Geeza, Visitor Visas, Your Question Answered /


First Published June 20, 2012

Down the years a great many foreign nationals arrive in Hong Kong as visitors ‘on spec’ and are able to successfully change their immigration status in order for them to take up employment when a job offer manifests itself here. This question discusses this very issue and provides the answer that a lot of people are asking about.

UPDATE: June 17 2021 – this advice must be understood against the backdrop of COVID restrictions on the entry of visitors to Hong Kong since March 2020 – but otherwise, it holds good.


“Hi Stephen, 

Thanks for getting back to me on Twitter (@xxxxxx).

Basically, my partner has been offered a teaching post, to commence mid-August 2012, so she should be able to get her visa fine.

We are engaged but weren’t planning on getting married any time soon.

I am currently a Senior HR Manager in the US and would like to pick up the same job in Hong Kong, however I will have to enter on a visitors visa and I am worried about being seen looking for recruitment as I know they don’t like it.

If I do this, what happens if I get a job offer?

Can I leave to Macau to then come back into the country?”

More Stuff You May Find Interesting or Useful

The Hong Kong Visa Handbook – Employment Visa Information Guide

Is it better to apply for an employment visa before or after you arrive in the HKSAR?

Can the sponsor of your Hong Kong employment visa hold your residence to ransom?

Applying for a Hong Kong Travel Pass – video presentation by the Hong Kong Visa Geeza

Can I start a business in Hong Kong yet live in Shenzhen to save costs & commute across the boundary each day to do my business?




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The Hong Kong Visa Geeza (a.k.a Stephen Barnes) is a co-founder of the Hong Kong Visa Centre and author of the Hong Kong Visa Handbook. A law graduate of the London School of Economics, Stephen has been practicing Hong Kong immigration since 1993 and is widely acknowledged as the leading authority on business immigration matters here for the last 24 years.

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